Monday, November 18, 2013

globe of frogs

Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians made their major label germination with the inflamed seed of this scrumptious surreal sprout.  Having released three critically acclaimed albums ('Fegmania''Gotta Let This Hen Out!'and 'Element of Light') on three different labels (Slash, Relativity, and Glass Flesh, respectively); the trio was offered a deal with A&M Records.  Hitchcock revealed:   "A&M has a bigger sales force and a better distribution network. And, I get to do a lot more interviews. They were prepared not to interfere with the creating and marketing.  Actually it's mutual parasitism. As long as both parties need equally, things are fine. It's when one needs the other more, that's when it doesn't work out."

'Globe of Frogs' features Robyn Hitchcock on vocals, guitars, harmonica, and piano on “Chinese Bones” and “A Globe of Frogs”; Andy Metcalfe on bass, keyboards, and accordion on “Luminous Rose”, Backing Vocals on “Tropical Flesh Mandala” and “Sleeping With Your Devil Mask”; Morris Windsor on drums, Indian Drum on “Globe Of Frogs”, and harmonies on “Tropical Flesh Mandala”, “Balloon Man”, and “Chinese Bones”;    with Chris Cox on mandolin on “Balloon Man”; Peter Buck on 12 String guitar on “Chinese Bones” and “Flesh Number One”; and Glenn Tilbrook on harmony vocal on “Flesh Number One”.  The sessions were produced by Hitchcock, Metcalfe, Windsor, and Collier and recorded at Alaska RIP and the Groovehouse in London with engineers Pat Collier, Iain O’Higgins, Paul Gadd, Jessica Corcoran, Noel Thompson, Stuart Farndern & Steve Nunn.

Hitchcock mused:  "People are always saying all sorts of things really, contorting themselves with rage, with disgust, with incredulity or contempt. But either you understand the language or you don't. It's like showing the Sistine Chapel to an anteater, or the Mona Lisa to a baboon. Once you become familiar with the language...I can't really spend my time discussing other people's misconceptions, or I wouldn't do anything else. I'm in the last wave of explaining myself now. I'm not walking around with stone tablets telling people what stuff is. People misunderstand, misconstrue what I do...There's not much respect around for what's called whimsy.  You have to be iron-clad to survive. It's a reaction to what happened in the late '60s, when some people believed that human nature was going to change overnight, and it didn't. That impossible euphoria naturally was followed by depression. That utopian way of thinking has become discredited...People wanna see meaning spelled out, or they feel insecure. Challenge people's sense of meaning, and they get indignant. They don't like their sense of reality to be mocked."

"Tropical Flesh Mandala" concerns "the idea of something coming out of the sea, something to do with sex. The girl (in the song) is a bit nervous, but her older sister explains what is happening."


"Balloon Man" was a college radio hit and made it to number one on the Gavin Report's alternative music chart.  Hitchcock says:    "Essentially that's about the stock market crash, overconsumption leading to mass suicide. It's my interpretation of the American dream."

"Luminous Rose"

"Sleeping with Your Devil Mask"


"Chinese Bones"

"A Globe of Frogs":  "It's a whole vision conceived in a courtyard where there's a homoerotic sculpted statue, like the Narcissus of legend. He has two red eyes that light up. There are leafy fronds and sensual looking shrubbery and little things in the water, frog images. The statue's fingers begin to drip, like wax, into the water...It's about a soul waiting to be made flesh. When two people are out there (making love), they really want to have a baby; the soul has the urge to incarnate. Now don't misunderstand. I'm not preaching; I'm a totally earthly person. I'm seeing it from the soul's point of view, like planes waiting to land."

"The Shapes Between Us Turn into Animals"

"Flesh Number One (Beatle Dennis)"
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians -Flesh Number One (Beatle-Dennis) from SALAMATONE on Vimeo.


SOMEWHERE inside a glowing kernel of peace is an irritant – an inflamed seed that messes up the organism. We are best seen as conductors, through which solids, air and liquids flow constantly, matched by a whorl of loosely related thoughts. If I am a prophet of chaos, then this is truly my age; but perhaps I am a prophet of order, recoiling in disgust from the uncontrollable force of life. Inside and out. This album does not deal with the conventional problems of so-called ‘real’ life; relationships, injustice, politics, and central heating systems, about which it’s notoriously hard to talk because orthodox lines of clichĂ© have been devised for and against everything. In the short span of a song – let alone a newspaper – it is easy to descend to slogans and dogma. Thatcher is bad, vegetables are good, show business is indifferent. Everybody who wants to know that know it already. The dinosaurs graze in the last warm valley, avoiding the icy winds. To go into ‘issues’ at the length they merit requires the depth – and double talk – of a politician. I’m concentrating instead on the organic. All of us exist in a swarming, pulsating world, driven mostly by an unconscious that we ignore and misunderstand. Within the framework of ‘civilization’ we remain as savage as possible. Against the dense traffic of modern life, we fortify our animal selves with video violence, imaginary sex, and music: Screw you, mate – here I go! One side, mother ___er! Give it to me, baby, as often and as beautifully as possible – Eat lead, infidel scum. Mostly we contain ourselves. Sexual crimes and private murders are still news (Legalized murders, though, such as executions, wars and the systematic deprivation of the helpless, seldom make the headlines). But our inflamed and disoriented psyches smoulder on beneath the wet leaves of habit. Insanity is big business. And vice versa. Religion isn’t dead either. The AntiChrist will have access to computers, television, radio and compact disc. If he walks among us already, the chances are that he has a walkman. I just hope it’s not Christ himself, disillusioned after two thousand years in a cosmic sitting room full of magazines and cheeseplants, turned malignant and rotting in despair at the way his message has been perverted. My contention is, however – and it’s a bloody obvious one – that beneath our civilized glazing, we are all deviants, all alone, and all peculiar. This flies in the face of mass marketing, but I’m sticking with it. So loosen your spine, bury your television, and welcome to a Globe of Frogs ….

Robyn Hitchcock
November 1987

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